The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 2

    Groped

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 9

    Groped

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 2

    Lost in Andes